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Pole of Cold Expedition

CommunityJames Hipkiss

The Pole of Cold Expedition is a journey to chase the onset of winter across Europe and Siberia as far as the Pole of Cold, the coldest place in the world outside of Antarctica. Treating winter as a geographical concept, the expedition team will explore the social, cultural and physical implications of the season on the communities along the route, looking at different attitudes to the cold. How do you use an iced-over lake to heat a house? What does it sound like when breath freezes? When do reindeer need shoes and coats? How do you start a car when it is so cold petrol freezes? What is it like to use river ice as a road and what happens when it melts? Is it possible for temperature to rise with altitude rather than drop? How do you bury the dead when the ground is frozen solid?

Curiosity about the day-to-day reality of life at the extremes of climate is the inspiration for the Pole of Cold Expedition. As a team we have impressive cold-weather credentials between us but it is a fascination for the stories of lives lived in severe winter conditions, the peculiarities of nature at subzero temperatures and the challenge of travel in such a demanding environment that motivates us. We hope that by sharing the experiences of the journey in new and innovative ways we can exchange winter wisdom between communities and promote a fresh look at how we manage our lifestyles during the severest weather. The journey is a 30,000km round trip departing from the Royal Geographical Society in London late in November 2013 before travelling the length of Norway to the northernmost parts of Europe, traversing Finland and Russia to the far northeast of Siberia and the Pole of Cold. The expedition will return through Kazakhstan and expect to arrive back in London at the end of February 2014.

The Pole of Cold team will be traveling in a Land Rover Defender 110 that has been specially built for the expedition, collecting photography, audio material and artifacts from the journey which will be assembled as an exhibition touring a number of UK venues in 2014 asking the question, What does winter mean to you? The Pole of Cold Expedition is funded by theLand Rover / RGS Go Beyond Bursary, an annual award given to an expedition that pushes boundaries and encourages a greater interest in Geography. The award is aimed at those who want to take a journey beyond their limits and boundaries, that offers challenges for the team and for which a Land Rover Defender 110 is an integral part of the expedition. The team of 3 consists of leader; Felicity Aston, who is no stranger to the cold - already having a number of Antarctic Expeditions under her belt - along with Gisli Jonsson, an expert mechanic in sub-zero temperatures, and Manu Palomeque, a filmmaker and photographer. (Meet the team here: http://on.fb.me/1aSlQKS.)

Land Rover has worked closely with the team prior to their departure to find out what it really takes to complete such an epic expedition.

Team Leader Felicity Aston reveals the challenges awaiting the team: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-Sv8waRG8A

You can also follow the team here: http://poleofcold.com @poleofcold2013 #PoleOfCold "